Deputy education minister: Schools hit by Covid-19 to close for two days in new govt directive

SMK USJ 23, one of the 19 schools ordered to close down on April 20, 2021 for disinfection and close contact tracing following the discovery of several cases of Covid-19. — Picture by Choo Choy May
SMK USJ 23, one of the 19 schools ordered to close down on April 20, 2021 for disinfection and close contact tracing following the discovery of several cases of Covid-19. — Picture by Choo Choy May

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 21 — Any school with even one confirmed Covid-19 case will be closed for two days according to a new directive by the Education Ministry.

Sin Chew Daily reported Deputy Education Minister Datuk Mah Hang Soon as saying that the new directive will take effect starting today.

“Schools with positive cases will be closed for two days.

“The school can be disinfected completely, and the teachers, students, and parents will have an emotional buffer space, which will prevent unnecessary panic and misunderstanding,” Mah told the Chinese daily.

Mah said that district health officers will then evaluate and determine whether the affected school can be re-open after two days or to prolong its closure.

“The district Health office will also arrange for teachers and students who require a Covid-19 test,” he said.

Mah said affected students will still be required to home-based learning for the duration of the closure.

He said the decision was made during a high-level ministerial meeting chaired by Education Minister Mohd Radzi Md Jidin earlier today.

However, Mah said that the decision would be reassessed by the National Security Council.

“Any updates on school closures will be finalised by the NSC and announced later,” he added.

The decision comes after a spike in Covid-19 cases being reported at schools.

Two schools were among 11 new Covid-19 clusters detected by health authorities today.

On April 19, the Petaling District Health Office ordered 19 schools to close down for disinfection and to allow close contact tracing of students and teachers following several cases of Covid-19.

Prior to that Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said any decision to close schools will be made based on the joint assessment by the District Health Office, Education Ministry, and the state government.

Last week, Malay Mail reported that six students tested positive for Covid-19 at SJK (C) Puay Chai 2, a primary school in the upper-middle class neighbourhood of Bandar Utama, Selangor.

Last month, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah disclosed that 41 Covid-19 clusters were linked to the gradual reopening of schools nationwide.

These included 15 in institutions of higher education, 11 in secondary schools, 10 from primary and preschools, and five more from Islamic schools.

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